Commune

36 Polaris, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

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WEBSITE


A cafe and bar, which has also taken up the trend as a community space. Commune is located in a quieter area of the bustling Poblacion, where the result of creative minds is seen through trendy cafes, restaurants and bars. You won’t miss the place, its in a corner of a street and covered in white with wide square windows. Parking looked like it was only available along the street, I recommend walking if you live close by or getting dropped off. You can also either choose to sit upstairs or in the main area.

Came to Commune for dinner, on a Saturday evening and I was surprised to see people with their laptops out in their groups, working. Music was moderately loud, so I couldn’t hear much around me. However, the music did set a young vibe to the cafe and not surprisingly more young to mid-aged people. The inside was decorated with books, a huge blackboard set against a mix of high and low wooden tables and a concrete ceiling. The place was urban, with the counter set in the middle so people can easily walk around and fit more people. The ambience is casual from individuals from all walks of life.

I saw more people ordering coffee, rather than alcoholic beverages that evening. I came without a reservation and was quickly shown to an available table. Open everyday of the week, you can be served breakfast all day, have your coffee fix, brunch and be served a steamy rice bowl. The owner is Rosario Juan, who had envisioned a cafe that not only served great coffee, but to gather people in one place to meet and host events. Commune’s menu is quite extensive, with a wide selection catering for both meat lovers and vegetarians. I was not feeling coffee adventurous that night, but their coffee menu had a wide selection of brew methods, espresso and iced types. Items are moderately priced, where their most expensive panini will set you back at 395 php, cheapest rice bowl at 250 php and their cappuccino (226 grams) is at 120 php.

Ordered that evening an iced camomile tea, spam fries, pork longganisa pasta and a sandwich (forgotten which one I had ordered). The spam fries were seriously addictive, its such a Filipino staple and loved how they included this! The pork lonnganisa was lovely, however they could have added more meat which was seriously lacking. Nothing really special with the items we ordered, but it was filling and comforting. Waitstaffs will come up and take your order from the table or you can make your order from the counter if it’s a take-away. Food came out timely and portion size was perfect for one person.

The mix of Filipino and western items in this cafe, is sure to cover both local and international customers. The wide, clear windows is sure to bring in an abundance of sunlight which makes the place a great cafe to work and meet in. The food were simple tasting, but I can see works well with the coffee and alcoholic beverages. I probably won’t come here for dinner, but will stop by for breakfast or brunch.

Sorry to the lady with the pink face mask… did I look suspicious haha

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Sarsá Kitchen + Bar

109 Rada, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

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WEBSITE


If you are new to the Filipino food scene or just want to revisit the comforting taste of the culture, in food form; Sarsa or otherwise known as Sarsa Rada has got you covered.

Nestled along  the busy street of Makati, Rada, Sarsa is one of the few well-known restaurants in the food scene of Legazpi Village. I had come in during dinner, before the restaurant had slowly filled up and was greeted with almost shy waitstaffs. I had made a reservation prior, because of how busy restaurants can be in the city, it would be a disadvantage to not secure a table prior to arriving. We were led to our table and I kept thinking the restaurant reminded me of public communal spaces, almost comforting, bright with natural tones, with small and large tables. There was a great blue coloured wall, with patterns that reminded me of what I used to see at my old folk’s place. The spacious layout and different sized tables, would be great to host parties and group events. Funnily enough, across our 2 seat table, there was a corporate dinner. I don’t know about parking, it would be better to grab a Grab to drop you off nearby.

Sarsa is a small sized restaurant, other words a bistro, that serves your familiar Filipino-Negrense cuisines. Headed by Chef JP Anglo, who further manages are number of Sarsa branches, focuses on presenting cuisines that embodies Filipino heritage with new dishes every six months. Unfortunately, you won’t see him cooking in the kitchen. I’m no expert on Negrense food, however through my experience in visiting Sarsa, it was not all too far from Filipino cuisines I have grown up eating. The menu has got a few dishes under its appetiser, mains and dessert sections. The mains are further broken down into soups, noodles, seafood, chicken, beef, pork, rice and vegetarian. I found the menu easy to navigate, mainly because Sarsa captures cuisines that are identifiable with Filipinos. Top it off with a variety of available drinks, such as shakes, juices and local beers, you won’t go wrong in the food pairing. I highly recommend their halo halo, which was ample with all the sweet goodness and not missing the beat in what makes an enjoyable halo halo. The kare kare was superb, the peanut sauce was interesting bright dark-orange which was smooth in texture and blended with the stew’s contents. I had just wished there was more beef in the stew! The beef was tender, not overly dry and still retained its taste, not being overpowered by the peanut sauce.

Be sure to wear something casual and flexible, allowing you to devour the mains maybe paired with garlic rice, another main, drinks and then dessert in peace. The ambience is relaxed, with not-so attentive waitstaffs and don’t be surprised with the wait-time for the food to come out. Filipino food, due to its immense emphases on sauce and flavour does take time to create.

I would revisit for a family event, or another type of event or when I just need that comfort fix. Bring your friends along if they’ve never tasted Filipino food before, Sarsa’s menu has the variety for them to pick and match from. The price is mid-range, serving size for a main is actually great for one person, but I think the setting calls for larger gatherings around delicious food.

Order (10% service charge):

  • Sarsa Kare Kare 395.00php
  • Garlic Rice (2 at 50.00php) 100.00php
  • Pancit Palabok  245.00php
  • Halo Halo 145.00php

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The Curator Coffee and Cocktails

134 Legaspi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK


A popular speakeasy bar in the heart of Makati city! We didn’t book a spot before we arrived and to make sure we did get a seat, we came in early around 6-7pm. The bar is located inside a cafe, there are no signs, so make sure you use your GPS. You go into the cafe and through a sliding door at the back. The Curator is located at the corner of a t-section. Headed to the bar straight after dinning close by, which made getting to the bar a breeze.

The Curator is well-known of their craft cocktails, which are all described inside an insightful and detailed drinks menu. The menu had this little radar section, which would simply identify whether the drink is on the sweet and/or alcoholic side; see image below. I was just fascinated at the very detailed menu. There are only a handful of cocktails to choose from, but don’t be afraid to speak to the bartenders, as they welcome suggestions to create from guests. I believe The Curator had previously been listed in Asia’s 50 Best Bars and rightfully so, as the quality was obviously there in each drink we ordered. There was something unique but also familiar; some cocktails were ridiculously smooth, clean tasting and presentation was on point. Drinks are not surprisingly on the higher side, but it was definitely worth it. A great place for a relaxing catch-up or pre-drinks before a night out.

The bar is quite dim inside, with two long tables in the middle, a bar at the back and small tables near the entrance. It’s also quite cold inside, so if you do decide to stay long, make sure to wear something cosy. You don’t need to dress up, it is very relaxed, with comfortable seating and overall had a casual vibe to the place. Waitstaff was lovely, bartenders were welcoming and gave us an introduction to their menu. There’s no food here, but they do serve peanuts to keep your taste buds going. We also received some cute stickers!

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Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

5972 Alfonso, cor Fermina, Makati, Metro Manila

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FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


Located in the nightlife but quieter scene of Poblacion, Agimat is a food and drink treasure box you sure don’t want to miss out! You’ll be led upstairs of a rustic Filipino home, and be greeted a staircase lined with red candles. There’s a narrow outdoor area for smokers and beside it, are the toilets. I had initially checked out the place, through their instagram and was surprised with their jungle concept. Located behind the bar, is a gorgeous tree with vines flowing down the trunk and its branches reach, almost crawls under the ceiling. There are low as well as high tables, we unfortunately got the unstable high table, but later moved to a low seating table when it was free.

As you can see by my pictures below, we ordered a lot of food! Agimat’s dishes were quirky, in a sense that they presented Filipino food in oddly-shaped plates and with a modern twist. The ingredients are truly special, using local ingredients and delicacies, such as ant eggs and day old chicken. I am a bit biased, but I love tapas food because you get to try a bit of everything, and Agimat wonderfully delivered. The highlight was the balut, there’s no chick inside, so you get to taste it without freaking out haha. It was creamy and with the right amount of salt.

Agimat’s craft cocktails were interestingly categorised by elements. I’m not sure if all ordered cocktails had performances, but when they did, it was super fun watching the mixologist do their thing whilst a drum was played. They had these cute sun masks on! Loved the vibe. The flavour in these drinks were amazing, I could taste little of the alcohol and more of the other ingredients used. If I had a higher tolerance, I would ordered a bit more, but alas after a few drinks these deadly cocktails got me. These cocktails not only had Tagalog names, but were also entertainingly presented.

I highly recommend pre-booking by calling Agimat, as the place is quite small. I did see some walk-ins and they were seated at the bar. They looked more like they were there to drink. But if you decide to check out the place for dinner, make sure to pre-book. Prices are mid-high, and by the time we left (about 9pm) the place was getting crowded.

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The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

7/3 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW

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WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


Right on the popular and ever bustling town of Byron Bay, you won’t miss it, is Balcony. Make sure to book prior and request to have a seat on the balcony.

After going up a flight of stairs, you will be greeted by a beautiful open floor setting, white rustic furniture and busy waitstaff. The place is filled with beachgoers, laid back but trendy diners, either celebrating a day out on the beach, a birthday or a social gathering! I went during dinner, just when the sun was setting, so it was oozing with bright colours but with a romantic touch.

Balcony’s menu offers a wide selection of oysters, seasonal flavours,  tapas, salads, charred and bone pieces, lamb, crab… just check out their menu here.They serve during breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got ourselves some oysters, which was delish by the way! Ordered their broccolini, chicken lollipops, cauliflower popcorn and the salt cod croquettes. By the time we got our new york cheesecake and coconut sago, we were overly satisfied.

I’d say overall the food items were done right, it was all tasty and not overly oily or fried. It was a perfect balance of softness and crispy. I now look back and wonder, gosh we ordered way too many fried items. If we were to go back, I’d try their lamb shoulder or crispy skinned ocean trout! The most memorable is their oysters and the sauces that came with it. Their cheesecake lacked unfortunately the “cheesiness”, was a bit over it after 3 bites.

Food and drinks were served on time, the setting was tastefully done and shout out to our waitstaff that night Jay! Do try their cocktails, nothing beats cocktails after a day exploring the area.

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Avenue on George

200 George Street Sydney 2000, Tenancy 2

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


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 I had visited during the busy lunch hour, found right across from a major company. You can either order your coffee and be off your way, or choose to casually dine amongst business suits.

The menu consists of modern, seasonal produce and serves from breakfast to lunch. I loved the interior, mostly consisted of browns against white and grey, I can imagine people having frequent meetings within. Enough about the interior, let’s talk about the food! Fresh, it deceivingly does not look filling but it sure was. I had particularly liked mine, which I believe was the Avenue Veggie Breakie Bowl.

Service was efficient and looked polished. The only downside is that the waiter got my coffee mistaken, but hey it still taste good!

Millone’s | Ristorante & Bar

43 Old Northern Rd, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

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Independently owned, Millone’s is a Mediterranean and Italian inspired restaurant that caters to large and small groups. Open 7 days a week, we were efficiently ushered to our table since we had pre-booked. From the outside it would look like any other building in the area, but once stepping inside you will instantly be welcomed by wooden browns and open spaces.

My parents are regulars, since it caters to my mother who can only eat gluten-free meals. But it was E and I’s first time, and I was definitely excited when the pizzas came out! Our table was bursting with fresh products and enticing colours that made want to jump into it already. Their menu meals ranging from about $14.90 onwards, a bit more pricey for gluten-free, you can choose from pizzas, hot pots, pastas, risottos and so on.

What can I say about their service? Quick and was efficient in clearing our tables. The foods came out timely, though do not expect them catching your eye any time soon. Since the floor space was quite large and can get loud, I think it would be a bit difficult calling.

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RATE: 3/5

Speaker’s Corner Bar

120 Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla ACT 2600

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The bar tenders were honestly the nicest, great-mannered I’ve encountered

It was one of those nights, where we wanted to relax and bask in the sounds surrounding us. Speaker’s Corner Bar was located within Hyatt Hotel Canberrra, where we stayed previously for a few nights. I’m very behind on the posts for our mini trip to Canberra.

Before things got a bit messy for me, from over-indulging of wines (I’m a light-weight), I had a taste of their dessert.

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Caramel cheese cake flan $16 – Peanut butter, mango tuile, raspberry

Maybe I was a bit intoxicated by then, but this was the bomb! Put cheese cake and mango combined in front of me and you can boss me around the whole day haha. Seriously though, I wished that the flan was as large as the plate, it wasn’t enough!! The way it melted into my mouth…

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Moet & Chandon Brut (France) $25 // Guinness Draught (Ireland) $12

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I have forgotten what these were… but they were good 

It has a great vibe inside, large leather chairs and high tables/chairs with the bar in the middle. Fast service my the barmen, who kindly offered their suggestions with what drinks we should try and I think one of the barmen made me a drink from scratch (it’s probably the bottom picture on the right).

I say yes, to giving this place another go for their beautiful service.

RATE: 4/5

Yebisu Izakaya

10/501 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000

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I vaguely remember the reason why I came to this place, it maybe because some sale in the city or it was a date, or both. Either way, I wanted to satisfy my Japanese food cravings.

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It was one of those restaurants where you can order via a screen. I do find it much more appealing, firstly because I don’t have to eye-down a waiter (always frustrating) and secondly it’s efficient and cool. There was a variety to choose from, I don’t know about you but I find Japanese cuisines to be so colourful.        

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Drinks: Guava beer $7.5, lychee & orange $7.8 and Okinawa Orion beer tap $8.5

Service was fast, once I tapped something on the screen, I’d say about 5 minutes or else the drinks came out and then about 15 minutes our dishes came out.

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Hers: Teriyaki fish and rice bowl set $13.80 – The fish was tender and the outer bit was lightly crisp dressed with the sweetest teriyaki sauce. Combined with miso soup and other delicious pieces on the set… it was heaven. 

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His: Chirashi sushi lunch set $18.80 – Forgot what was in this, though I was about to get this because it was a vegetarian set. He said he liked it!

I was just looking at posts and I saw a lot of bad reviews for this place. I didn’t have a bad experience, the waiter you delivered the sets was polite and efficient. The dishes were presented great and the quality was lovely as well. I would definitely go back, maybe try out what else they offered and I definitely would like to try something in their dessert menu.

RATE: 3/5

Brooklyn Social

17 Randle St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

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Before heading to a social event yesterday night, I wanted to go out for lunch with the boyfriend but he arrived so late that it turned into dinner instead! I’ve previously seen pictures of this eatery and really wanted to check it out. 

Service: 

The service is what you’d expect from a laid-back, chill location like this. When we first entered, we thought it was not open yet because I thought that the service staff were customers. They looked like people who were just waiting at the bar haha. But when I asked if they were open, they said yes and a guy showed us to our seats and asked us in a very “chill” way what we wanted. Water was brought out for us and poured *thumbs up*. It didn’t take too long for our food to come out, and I’m very impatient so another thumbs up for them.

Interior: 

I think they were trying to recreate an American-style pub, with not so comfortable seatings and small tables. Oh I found it very cute how on the table there was ketchup and mustard! Very dim inside, but it was also spacious. I think on some nights they have a DJ playing so people can have enough space to dance about. The bar is on one side, tables in-between  and the other end was an outdoor smoking area.

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The funniest thing happened at the start, we were sooo lost because we couldn’t find the place. We were where the gps was showing us, but when we got there it was like it vanished! We looked about again and discovered that it’s entrance was covered by big, thick black fly screens (I think that’s what they are called?).

Menu:

The menu was interesting, it featured American diner food like burgers, fries, waffles, mac and cheese foodies and other cheesy, fatty fills haha.

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I was very surprised to find that the menu items, were not pricey for me. Like the average price, from what I can remember  was about $14 or less. Their ribs was close to $30! They had a unique range of gins, imported beer and wines.

Orders:

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His: Brooklyn Special $12 – meat, cheese, dill pickles, onions and the pub’s home sauce.

Hers: The Lucky Cow (I’m still a vegan, so I got myself a vegan burger) $12 – chickpea, sesame burger, tomato, capsicum, salsa and citrus onions. 

Entree: Mac and Cheese Balls $6 – 5 juicy balls *drool*

Positives:

I really like the ambience the venue gave, it was relaxed from the start. I could eat without having to worry whether I talked to out or ate to messy haha. The music in the background played some awesome American tunes, that blended perfectly with the pub’s theme. Oh and I could hear what my boyfriend was saying, don’t you hate eating at places when music plays way too loud?

Negatives:

I guess the burgers was nothing remarkable, maybe cause it’s pub food, but honestly it was kinda a disappointment. I think it’s only good food if I was a bit tipsy and was hungry. The started off excited when the burgers came out, but towards the end I found it bland, that me and my boyfriend didn’t finish it off (left the buns out too). Though the Mac and Cheese Balls were a different story, when it entered my mouth, I felt like I was in cheese heaven.

Maybe, they can change their entrance too? I guess it’s different, but a pub shouldn’t be difficult to find.

RATE: 3/5